Frightened by Zhang Zhihe’s attack, Lu Ping was close to suffering an internal injury. He never expected that a Blood Condensation Realm cultivator, even when severely wounded, would still be this strong!

Little did he know that Zhang Zhihe was also shocked and frustrated as well. He thought it would be easy to crush a puny Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm cultivator in a single blow. But he never expected the puny cultivator’s cultivation foundation to be so solid—not only did he fail to kill him, that little cultivator actually managed to slow him down!

Master Immortal Du might have given the order hastily, but who would’ve thought Lu Ping could actually hold his ground and stall Zhang Zhihe?

In the split-second Zhang Zhihe paused, Master Immortal Du’s top-grade Flying Fish Sword was already inches away from piercing through his back. Left with no hope of escape, Zhang Zhihe had no choice but to turn around and fight.

Seeing that he had destroyed Zhang Zhihe’s plan to escape, Lu Ping was afraid that the man would act out of desperation. He quickly retreated to a place far away from the battle. On the other hand, he was also worried that Master Immortal Du would order him to help him fight the battle.

However, Lu Ping’s worries were unnecessary—Zhang Zhihe had reached his limit. He’d already cast [Blood Spirit Escape] twice in order to escape, so there wasn’t much energy left in him.

A few moments later, Lu Ping heard a cry of death as Zhang Zhihe was killed mid-air by Master Immortal Du.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64ce79d606107d003c23ea27", id: "pf-5140-1"})Quickly, Lu Ping moved upwards and reported to Master Immortal Du on his current mission progress. Pleased, the Master Immortal praised him for his achievements, before briefing him on his chase for Zhang Zhihe.

It started when a Zhen Ling disciple came across Zhang Zhihe, who was hiding out on a mini island the disciple had been dispatched to. The disciple encountered Zhang Zhihe and before his death, managed to send out a signal. Master Immortal Du was patrolling nearby and hurried to the scene to battle Zhang Zhihe.

Zhang Zhihe was already severely wounded, so naturally he wasn’t a match for Master Immortal Du. Left with no choice, he was forced to cast [Blood Spirit Escape] one more time.

Unfortunately for him, Master Immortal Du was prepared for it this time and chased closely behind. Then, Lu Ping stalled Zhang Zhihe for a split second which eventually led the escapee to his death.

Master Immortal Du took out a jade scroll and said, “This scroll records Zhang Zhihe’s secret technique, the [Blood Spirit Escape]. It’s not bad, as it can help a person out of a predicament. You helped to stall Zhang Zhihe and saved me some work in killing him. So here, take this jade scroll.”

Lu Ping was very excited. The power of a secret technique would grow as the cultivator’s cultivation base increased. Although there was always a price to pay for casting them, each and every secret technique was extremely effective in killing the enemy or saving the cultivator’s life. Anyway, no one would dislike learning more skills!

In the side hall disciple competition, the top 8 were each rewarded with a secret technique. Lu Ping had always been dissatisfied at missing out on the 16-to-8 match and not making it into the top 8. But now, he was feeling much better.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64cc9e79c7059f003e4ad4b0", id: "pf-5109-1"})Master Immortal Du saw the excitement on Lu Ping’s face and said, “Enlightened Master Qu has given his order: After the disciples have completed their mission, they are to return to Xuan Qi Island as soon as possible. So you will follow me back.”

The flight speed of a Blood Condensation Realm cultivator was truly amazing. Master Immortal Du brought Lu Ping along to head back to Xuan Qi Island, only taking a quarter of the usual time Lu Ping would need.

Many changes had been made to the island by this time. Zhen Ling Sect had re-activated the protective dome, with some modifications added to it, making it more powerful than before.

Blood Condensation Realm Zhen Ling Sect cultivators flew in and out of the island, filling the atmosphere with a murderous air. The grim ambience affected the disciples returning from their mission, wiping the initial excitement from their faces.

Lu Ping found the rest of Group 7 and through Shi Lingling who had returned first, he learned of three more flashes of lights, similar to Enlightened Master Qu, that arrived on the island last night, with more than a dozen Blood Condensation Realm cultivators following behind. The disciples were greatly shocked by their arrival!

“Are we really going to war with Xuan Ling Sect?” First Senior Martial Brother Yao Yong asked, puzzled.

“Who knows? But by the looks of things, we’re no longer needed here anymore,” Shi Lingling answered.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "663633fa8ebf7442f0652b33", id: "pf-8817-1"})Lu Ping knew the reason, but he wasn’t stupid enough to say it out loud. While they were talking, three more Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters had flown onto the island and entered the pavilion. Everyone looked at each other in stunned amazement.

Seven Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters!

After a while, Shi Lingling said with a bitter smile, “It seems like something big is about to happen.”

All the disciples fell silent!

Sure enough, in the afternoon, Master Immortal Liu came to announce the early completion of their mission. The disciples were ordered to return to Zhen Ling Side Hall immediately to absorb the lessons and experience learned from the mission, and to consolidate their cultivation base.

In addition to the disciples stationed on Xuan Hua Island, there were 40 disciples that participated in the training mission. However, only 32 returned, and half of them were injured.

Eight disciples from Group 7 had participated in the training mission and they were all in the Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm and above. But Group 7’s eighth senior martial brother, who had just advanced into the Ninth Layer after the competition, had fallen during the extermination of the Xuan Ling Sect disciples on the mini islands.

Hence, despite their tremendous gains from the training mission, the entire Group 7 was in sorrow.

After they returned to the side hall, Lu Ping immediately plunged into closed-door training in his room. Among the 40 disciples, he might not have gained the most during the two days’ training mission, but he could still be placed among the top few. Most importantly, his cultivation base was now at the cusp of a breakthrough.

The Grade 3 disciples were no longer forced to practice every morning with the group leader; they could freely allocate their time on their own.

Seven days later, with the help of sufficient medicinal pellets, Lu Ping finally entered late-stage Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm. From now on, he had to slowly accumulate his arcane energy to prepare himself for the Ninth Layer.

After exiting from closed-door training, Lu Ping arranged the loot plundered from the training mission and sold off all the junk to the market. The junk consisting of spirit herbs, spirit materials, and crude ores were worth nothing much individually, yet together, they came up to a hefty sum. Lu Ping was able to sell them for 220 spirit stones altogether.

Then, he restocked his medicinal pellets, such as the Blood Purification Pellets for his cultivation, Spirit Regenerating Pellets for regenerating arcane energy, and Essence Recuperating Pellets for healing wounds. He also bought the resources needed for his daily cultivation. In the end, he spent up all the spirit stones he just received.

By then, the other groups had also begun to return from their training missions with their own gains, and their appearance livened up the side hall and the market. At the same time, stories and rumors of what the disciples learned from their training missions started circulating around the market.

Another seven days later, Lu Ping sold off all the spirit rice he plundered to the market—one spirit stone for three pounds of spirit rice. He earned more than 300 spirit stones for selling more than a hundred pounds of spirit rice.

After that, he went on a shopping spree again. Other than the usual medicinal pellets and charm-crafting materials, he also bought some Blood Spirit Pellets that could recover one’s loss of blood essence. In just one round of shopping, Lu Ping spent more than 200 spirit stones out of the 300 earned.

At this time, the side hall and the market were filled with stories about the Zhen Ling Sect’s training missions. These training missions were mostly targeted at Xuan Ling Sect and its allies.

Together with a few other friendly sects’ disciples who were also on their training missions, Zhen Ling Sect’s 20 groups of side hall disciples had attacked and conquered 17 small islands and their associated mini islands that were ruled by five other hostile sects. These five sects included Xuan Ling Sect, Fei Yu Sect, and Cang Lang Sect.

Although there were three more small islands that had yet to be conquered, the ongoing seige had left those islands in bad shape, with their resident cultivators suffering heavy casualties.

At present, Zhen Ling Sect had publicly condemned Xuan Ling Sect in the North Ocean Alliance. It claimed that the sect had ordered its disciples to disguise as rogue cultivators and formed five rogue cultivator groups, such as the Cultivator Sharing Union and Shared Cultivation Union.

These “rogue cultivators”’ unions sneaked into the territories of Zhen Ling Sect and other sects to spy on their sect’s secrets, as well as kidnap and murder their disciples. Zhen Ling Sect had gathered and provided solid evidence to support its claims.

Meanwhile, seven other sects, including Cang Hai Sect and Yu Jian Sect, had also provided their own evidence to back Zhen Ling Sect’s assertions.

Naturally, Xuan Ling Sect sternly refuted this, stating that Zhen Ling Sect directed all of this on its own and slandering them with baseless accusations. This was nothing more than an excuse to invade Xuan Ling Sect and its affiliated sects.

Xuan Ling Sect asked the other sects in the North Ocean Alliance to condemn the evil acts of Zhen Ling Sect and its affiliated sects.

In short order, the sects in the North Ocean Alliance were in dispute against one another!